Value chain analyses of grain legumes in N2Africa

Submitted by charlotte.schilt on
Report number/Data file version
Value chain, market, trade, input supply, processing, common bean, groundnut, cowpea, soybean, soyabean



In the N2Africa target countries value chain analyses of the four target grain legumes - common bean, cowpea, groundnut and soyabean – were carried out in 2011. Within the value chain analysis, five different aspects were identified: (1) the role of the target grain legumes in smallholder farmers’ strategies for cash incomes, food security, nutrition, natural resource management and gender equity, (2) trends in production, (3) the structure and dynamics underway in the value chains, (4) opportunities and constraints on improving performance of the value chain and (5) the nodes for leveraging research investments to resolve constraints and permit smallholders, traders, and agribusiness firms to exploit the end market opportunities. Generally, common bean is important in eastern and southern Africa, cowpea in western Africa and groundnut and soyabean across the three regions. In all regions, production of marketable surplus is geographically concentrated in areas characterized by soils and climatic conditions favourable for these crops, preferences for different legumes for home consumption and grain legume development projects. Overall, there is an upward trend in area, yield and production, mainly driven by increasing end market demand, increasing procurement from the farm gate by large scale agribusiness firms that integrate logistics with markets and technological change. The value chains are rapidly evolving. End-market demand opportunities with significant potential for improving performance lie in the increasing and currently unmet demands in urban centers in domestic and regional markets, substitution for imported food and international markets. Constraints include erratic production and lack of capacity to supply end-markets with products with consistent quality, quantity and timeliness and at competitive prices; lack of input supply systems for certified seed of improved appropriate varieties, inoculants, fertilizers, agro-chemicals, tractor and machinery hire services; weak public extension services; poor access to output markets and lack of farmers’ capacity to participate in markets; difficulties honouring contracts; lack of financing; competition from imports; and policy inconsistencies. Priority research interventions identified include development, testing and promotion of new varieties adapted to the local agro-ecological conditions; crop and post-harvest management practices; input supply systems for seeds, inoculants, fertilizers and agro-chemicals; output marketing systems; the provision of information; the development of micro-finance markets; farmers’ organizations; and the creation of an enabling environment for business.